FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Virginia E. Carmany,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-668

Edward Ward, Chairman,

Water Pollution Control Authority,

Town of Chester; and Water Pollution

Control Authority, Town of Chester,

 
  Respondents October 10, 2007
       

 

          The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 14, 2007, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2006-666; Virginia E. Carmany v. Edward Ward, Chairman, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester; Pat Bisacky, Tom Englert, Arthur Henick and John King, as members, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester; Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester; and Thomas Marsh, First Selectman, Town of Chester; and Docket #FIC 2006-667; Virginia E. Carmany v. Edward Ward, Chairman, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester; Pat Bisacky, Tom Englert, Arthur Henick and John King, as members, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester; and Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester.

 

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  By e-mail dated December 13, 2006, and filed with the Commission on December 14, 2006, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act by failing to create minutes of the respondent authority’s November 2, 2006, special meeting within seven days.

 

3.  Section 1-225, G.S., states in relevant part:

 

(a)…The votes of each member of any such public agency upon any issue before such public agency shall be reduced to writing and made available for public inspection within forty-eight hours and shall also be recorded in the minutes of the session at which taken, which minutes shall be available for public inspection within seven days of the session to which they refer.

                        …

(g)  In determining the time within which or by when a notice, agenda, record of votes or minutes of a special meeting or an emergency special meeting are required to be filed under this section, Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays and any day on which the office of the agency, the Secretary of the State or the clerk of the applicable political subdivision or the clerk of each municipal member of any multitown district or agency, as the case may be, is closed, shall be excluded. 

 

4.  It is found that the respondent authority held a special meeting on November 2, 2006.  It is concluded that, pursuant to 1-225(g), G.S., the minutes of such meeting should have been available on November 14, 2006. 

 

5.  It is found that the complainant requested minutes of the November 2, 2006 meeting at the town hall on November 14, 2006, but that such minutes were not available for public inspection at such time. 

 

6.  It is found that the minutes in question were not e-mailed to the town clerk of Chester until the evening of November 15, 2006.  It is further found that the complainant received a copy of such minutes on November 17, 2006. 

 

7.  At the hearing in this matter, the respondents admitted that the minutes at issue were late, and explained that the delay was due to the unexpected and sudden resignation of the respondent authority’s clerk. 

 

8.  It is concluded that the respondent violated the FOI Act, as alleged in the

complaint. 

 

9.  Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, the Commission declines to consider the imposition of civil penalties in this matter.  

 

            The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1.  Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements of 1-225(a), G.S.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 10, 2007.

 

 

________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

 

Virginia E. Carmany

c/o Keith R. Ainsworth, Esq.

Evans, Feldman & Boyer, LLC

261 Bradley Street

New Haven, CT 06507-1694

 

Edward Ward, Chairman,

Water Pollution Control Authority,

Town of Chester; and Water Pollution

Control Authority, Town of Chester

c/o John S. Bennet, Esq.

Gould, Larson, Bennet, Wells & McDonnell, PC

35 Plains Road

PO Box 959

Essex, CT 06426

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2006-668FD/paj/10/17/2007